Everything about our God is loving, even when it seems He’s being tough on us!  Let’s remember that He knows the beginning from the end (Revelation 1:8); He never changes (Hebrews 13:8); His love is perfect; and He desires the very best for us!

God knew us intimately before we were ever formed in our mothers’ wombs (Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16).  Our life stories were already written down by God before we were ever born.

Scripture says that God created us in His image and likeness – allowing us to walk with Him, love Him, be loved by Him, and to have dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).  Then entered disobedience (sin or “the fall”) into the Garden of Eden.  This changed God’s original plan for mankind, but because He truly gave us free will so that our love would be honest and genuine, He allowed the evil one to deceive Eve, and subsequently Adam.  You see, we’re not “robots” for God’s amusement.

God’s love for us is greater than we could ever imagine.  Our God is a God of second chances – no matter how many second chances we need!  In His omniscience, He already knew that man would succumb to the deceit of the evil one, but because of God’s incredible love for us, He made a way of escape – even though His act of love caused future childbearing, farming the land and living life to be a bit harder, and our lifespans to be shorter here on earth.  You see, sin has consequences.

The Father knew from the very beginning that it would be necessary for Jesus to go to the cross, as the one and only acceptable sacrifice, who by the power of His shed blood would once-and-for-all wash away our sin – to be the propitiation for our sin – not to simply cover our sin through animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant (1 John 2:1-2 and 1 John 4:9-10).

Jesus didn’t simply learn how to be loving and then walk it out!  As Apostle Paul would say, “certainly not!”  He exemplifies love because HE IS LOVE.  The love of God is not an emotions-driven or fleshly response that so many on earth would call “love.”  The very being and nature of Jesus, whether in the written word (logos) or by the Spirit of God in prayer or as the voice of our conscience, is the standard for what it means to love.

By way of example, only a Person of incredible love could ask Judas to be a disciple, KNOWING that he was the very person who would betray Him into horrible agony and death, as He took the sins of the world upon His shoulders – which was the Father’s will and the plan of salvation for mankind.  That, my brothers and sisters, takes a very special kind of love!

Let’s look at a few different types of love – Eros Love, Phileo Love and Agape Love.

Eros Love is the type of love exemplified by emotional and often sexual attraction to others.  It’s important within a marriage relationship and it’s given to us by God, but it can easily be abused.  The word “Eros” was the name of the Greek god of love known as “Cupid.”  The bottom line is that out-of-control Eros Love is sin.

Phileo Love is the type of love we’d call brotherly love and is usually exhibited in a close friendship.  Best friends are generous and affectionate toward each other, but this love isn’t sexual or erotic, familial nor representative of the depth of love with which God loves.  And, because Phileo Love involves feelings of warmth and affection toward another person, we don’t operate in this sort of love toward our enemies, whom God also commands us to love.

Agape Love is the love of God – the highest form of love.  As already stated, God doesn’t merely love, He is love (1 John 4:7-8).  Everything the Lord does flows from His love.

In our lives, Agape Love is in evidence not so much by what we say, but what we actually do (e.g., faith without works is dead).  We are saved by grace (His love) through faith (our faith) as a gift from God, so that all the glory goes to God(!), that we would not attribute His goodness to anything we could do on our own (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Agape Love is the type of love with which the Father loves you and me.  It’s not based on emotion or what the other person can “bring to the table.”  It allows us to fulfill God’s directive to love our neighbors as ourselves – always being mindful of others and seeking to bless them – without being selfish or self-centered.

Perhaps the best example of Agape Love in history was Jesus allowing Himself to be tortured and murdered upon the cross.  Even as we were dead in our sin, He willingly suffered to bring salvation to you and me, and to everyone who names Jesus as Lord (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Our goal as Christians should be to exemplify the love of God (Agape Love) in our thoughts, words and actions – not to deny our God-given emotions, but to help us to see others as the Lord sees us, as sons and daughters (children) of the Living God (John 1:12)!

According to the “love chapter” – 1 Corinthians 13 – love is patient, kind and rejoices in the truth.  It’s never proud, envious, rude, self-centered or easily provoked.  Love never fails!  The scripture says that we are to abide in faith, hope and love, but of these three, the greatest is love!

So, in conclusion, how much does the Father love us?

In Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John, Jesus prays to the Father for Himself, the disciples, and for you and me.  In Verses 6-7, Jesus makes it clear that the disciples belonged to the Father but that the Father gave the disciples to (or into the care of) Jesus.  In Verses 20-23, Jesus prays not only for the disciples, but for all of those (including you and me) who will believe in Jesus through the word of the disciples.  Jesus declares that He has given us the glory that the Father gave Jesus, so that we may be one with Jesus and the Father.  And, Verse 23 says that we are made perfect in one so the world will know that the Father loves us just as He loves Jesus!

So the answer to the question is that the Father loves us just like He loves Jesus!  Amen!

Here are the above-referenced scriptures:

Revelation 1:8 (ESV)
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT)
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank [Y]ou for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in [Y]our book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Genesis 1:26-28 (NKJV)
“Then God said, ‘[l]et Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘[b]e fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

1 John 2:1-2 (NKJV)
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

1 John 4:9-10 (NKJV)
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 4:7-8 (NKJV)
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:4-5 (NKJV)
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”.

John 1:12 (NKJV)
“But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…”.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NKJV)
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, [and] endures all things.  Love never fails.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (emphasis mine).”

John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (emphasis mine).”

Praise Jesus forevermore!

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